So on Saturday I had to drop Tabitha off at her Choir rehearsal (The APU 30th anniversary UCO concert). We hadn't planned ahead too well, and, as Tabitha hasn't been doing good with staying awake late at night while driving, suddenly realized that I would either have to drive to Azusa and back to drop her off, then drive to Azusa and back to pick her up, or stay in the area.
On such short notice, all of my friends in the area had plans (how dare they!). So, in a last ditch effort, I called my uber-social brother John. As expected, he had plans with the Orange County Wine Society. However, after a brief pause, he said he would find out if there would be space for me to join him.
About 20 minutes, he texted me and said I was cleared to come on down one way or the other.
Let me back up a long bit:
Growing up, my brother and I have NEVER got along. I mean like...ever. Everything was a battleground: bicycles, nintendo, nintendo controllers, computer time, model trains, legos, imaginary friends (mine could TOTALLY beat up his...), etc.
I think the only time we ever got along was when I got my wisdom teeth removed, and was sedated for half a day. However, I do suspiciously recall it was about that time my favorite monopoly piece went missing.....
It got so bad that one of John's close friends at the time, a very nice kid from a very nice household, often went home crying due to the viciousness of our arguments.
While I was in Jr. College, and working for the Navy, we shared a roof again, and, let me tell you, it got baaaad.
Yet through it all, there are certain snap points that I look at where, despite the hostilities we were currently engaged in, I was extremely proud of my brother, or hurt for him beyond words.
One time we were with CPAC at the beach. John was in training for Annapolis entrance (which he SHOULD have gotten into...don't get me started). My good friend Janelly, someone I'd known for a year and a half at that point, was a paragon of athletic excellence (or so I thought), said, "Hey, I'm going to go for a run down the beach." John said, "I'll join you", loaded up his camelbak, and they took off. I goofed around in the water for a bit, then came back to the towels, only to find Janelly arriving, walking somewhat slowly. "Where's John?" I asked. She replied "I couldn't keep up with him." My jaw hit the floor. Janelly is the kind of person that you envision running marathons casually. John ran in about 30 minutes later. (My brother kicks ass. )
As stated, my brother attempted to get into Annapolis. For those of you who don't know, this is a very big deal. The physical requirements, along with letters of recommendation and community service are extremely stringent. I remember swing dancing at Java the Hutt on campus at Cal Poly Pomona when I got the call that John hadn't made it. I collapsed onto a bench, trying to fight back tears.
Since then, my brother has come back with a vengeance. John has a major gift in business: my brother is one of those people that can sell ice to Eskimos. Going through his house, he can casually rattle off the number of times he has gotten a company to either spend their money to make him happy, or knock off a few hundred/thousand on a sale. He's has a wonderful life for himself in Orange County, married a lovely young lady, has a pudgy cat, a career that is rocketing higher and higher, and a wine cellar that is not to be believed. (Seriously...300 bottles of red, 150 white, and a liquor collection that rivals most bars in quantity, and beats most in quality.)
It was an interesting day when I discovered that I could hang out with my brother without worrying about whether or not we might be getting into another fight.
However, driving down to Costa Mesa Saturday night, realizing that John had turned his remarkable charm to make space for me, I realized that the nature of our relationship has changed. It's no longer a case of not dreading being around him; I'm now looking forward to spending time with him.